Ok guys...I told you I would keep you informed on the fuel research I've been doing. Since HQ wants you to have a very healthy trouble free motor for a very long time, I've spent the better part of several weeks speaking with authorities on the subject. Let me start by saying the following...the information I'm providing you with is not up for debate nor is it speculation or personal opinion. It's coming from sources ranging from lead chemical engineers at multiple gasoline companies, to ethanol manufacturers, to the Special Service Committee in Washington DC (yes, I've spoken directly with them several times as well). I'm not going to provide in depth details of the conversations because I was asked more than once to sign non-disclosure agreements but I will provide information necessary to ensure longevity of your motor so....
There have not been any recent changes (past couple of months) to gasoline, it's generic blend, or changes in geographic specific blends. The commonalities we are seeing with conditions of the motors (noise, carbon buildup, etc) are not in any way related to engine design or materials and has everything to do with fuel. However, the noises that have come up recently, while they sound the same, are caused by different issues...all of which are fuel related in summary. Now, more than ever, these bikes need to be tuned accordingly. After having indepth conversations with all those listed above, I have a full understanding of how tunes need to be modified to accomodate the new blends. I am at liberty to say...get ready...15% ethanol is right around the corner making it ever more important that your tuner FULLY understands the impact fuel blends have on the tune of the bike.
Next issue is fuel economy and total power output. Bottom line is folks, because of the changes in fuel blends (ethanol), you can expect to see slightly less power and less fuel economy with ethanol blends. If you want to keep the motor healthy with a proper tune, there simply is nothing that can be done about it. You can make the best parts in the world but the fuel quality is a key element...and it is what it is.
Next week, the committee in Washington DC will be having another meeting. I have been asked to be involved with the committee from an engine designers perspective and will have several contacts who will be sharing information. After the closing of the meeting, Im sure I'll have even more information and will share what I can. I'm doing all I can to make sure our customers are on the forefront of this issue and will continue to update you as I have more information.